Have you ever thought of using a social media channel to educate yourself?
I started off on twitter using it for this very purpose. Maybe I was doing it wrong but I learned a lot along the way. If you are starting off on learning something new- web design, art, photography, cinema or just about anything, you can use twitter as your constant news and information stream. Here’s how I did it-
- Follow your magazines and websites on Twitter
Most often one ignores the ‘follow us on twitter’ or facebook links at the bottom of newsletters or blogposts. One think that it will usually be stuffed with links to their articles anyway. You’ll be surprised know that some websites share a lot of interesting things via their social media channels- articles by other experts, industry news and links to interesting examples of work (and occasionally the cat picture).
- Follow the experts
The people who get retweeted by your favorite magazine are most probably going to be really important people. I found a lot of excellent freelance professionals to follow because they featured on smashing magazine’s twitter handle. I would have never come across them otherwise. You can also use twitter’s ‘discover’ option to find discussions around hashtags that are related to your field of interest.
- Retweet and be nice
If you want to stop being just a spectator and get involved in the conversation start by retweeting and thanking the user for the effort in putting together great content for you. This is called an emotional deposit. We will learn how to encash this in the next step.
- Ask questions
No education is complete without asking questions. People are more likely to reply to your tweet when you ask them a question. If you think you have enough emotional deposit with a certain expert. Ask him publicly using an @ mention. In my experience this has almost always worked. At times when I was stuck with a logo or webdesign problem I would get prompt replies from users even without @ mentioning them!
- Tweet about your learning and discoveries
If you want to build a community of learners and experts around you the best way is to have a timeline clearly shows your interest in a field. This makes it easier for potential followers to decide and makes experts feel your question is worth answering.
- Twitter Lists
Lists are quite similar to groups on facebook or communities on google plus. Lists are exclusive and are a great place to find other experts and engagers. They are curated by a group of users who also ensure that a lot of useful resources are shared via tweets. So join as many as you can keep track of!
- Twitter Chats
I am still discovering twitter chats. Usually a group of users start discussing and sharing resources using a common group hashtag for everyone to keep track. An example I know of is Travel Talk on Twitter #TTOT. So I haven’t quite used this feature yet. If you have and think it can be an amazing learning resource too then let me know too!
I tweet @thedigitalmonk I tweet about web design, social media and web for business.
Happy tweeting. 🙂
Originally published at thedigitalmonk.in on October 9, 2013.